Has anyone tried this option with gas prices getting higher

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by soloscaperman, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. soloscaperman

    soloscaperman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,054

    Lets say you change from a heavy V8 truck with heavy ZTR's and instead buy a 4 banger turbo truck and walkbehind mowers with a smaller trailer. If you switch you will end up having money left over PLUS you get better MPG and cheaper maintenance but the problem would be more stress on your body with a walker. I am just wondering if anyone has switched around because if gas prices ever get crazy and stay that way people like me that drive 6MPG trucks are screwed lol. My goal every year is to make X amount of money versus last year and with gas prices high and customers on the edge I could break even this year like last year. A successful business is a business that grows every year making even more money.
  2. Skimastr105

    Skimastr105 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 293

    They've been doing that in Europe for years. With gas prices there hovering between 12 and 15 dollars per gallon, it's by far the best option.

    As a landscape architect, I have been advocating a reduction of turf areas in development. They are costly and extremely unsustainable in most areas where inputs such as irrigation, pesticide, herbicide, and fert are required. Leave large turf areas for public parks, where the large cost (both monetary and environmental) of maintenance can be absorbed by the population and enjoyed by all.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2011
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Before the reader thinks this has nothing to do with the high price of fuel, think again.
    It has to do with reducing not just cost but energy consumption, just in this case I started with the house.

    So then...
    My house's ceiling insulation level used to be about half R-11 and the other half R-19.
    For those uneducated about R-values, that's between 3 to 6 inches of fiberglass wool.
    And we're talking about the attic's floor or the interior ceiling, the roof over your head but not the actual roof of the house.

    My basement's roof (the house's interior floor) insulation was mostly R-11 but some was R-19.
    You see, the owner before me had worked on it, too.

    In the past 3-4 years...
    Oh, it ain't no easy job, not if you want it done right the first time, it's itchy, it's hot, it's a pita I only wanted to deal with once.

    I took the ceiling's insulation level to R-50 (that's 18 inches or a foot and a half of fiberglass wool).
    And the basement to R-30, these values coincidentally happen to be set as the standard by the EPA,
    now understand I didn't just drop insulation, I first did my research.

    At a cost of near $1,000 in insulation material, all the labor DIY.
    It took hours, and hours, days, and all in all a few weeks spanned the entire job over 3-4 years,
    I took it in steps, a bit here, some there but I stayed on it until it was done.

    Nowadays, my electricity bill is around $40-$60 cheaper in the hottest and coldest months of the year,
    so for about 6 months I gain a total of about $300 a year saved.
    Every year.

    The entire job pays for itself in 3-4 years parts, and 6-7 years for the labor, after 10-15 years it pays back real good,
    especially as the cost of energy goes up every year, the cost in my necks has went from 4 cents to 10 in the past 6...
    Maybe not quite but watch that energy bill, they like to hike it a fraction of a penny here and a little of a penny there,
    you almost don't see it from month to month but watch out maybe they are doing it to you!
    Complaining about it does nothing.
    Conservation is the key.

    In 10 years of business I have not found a better investment for my money.
    Not to mention it's eco-friendly.

    In my house we also use only about half the water that the average American consumes, but that $120 saved every year is for another story.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2011
  4. orlawncaresvc

    orlawncaresvc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 962

    We are trying to think of what to do also because of the high fuel prices. At the moment we are running a K3500 Chevy dually with a 454 engine. It is killing us with the fuel prices rising and rising. And also that fact that we pull a 20 foot trailer. We are considering of down sizing on the vehicle and trailer. Or even getting rid of the trailer and running out on a 1500 or 2500. If prices continue the way the are going. God pray for us.
  5. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    I actually find all of this bitching and moaning about gas prices rather amusing. I've been warning everyone since the prices came down 3 years ago that they would go back up. Whenever there was a discussion about trailers and sometimes trucks I would err on the side of trying to keep things small and fuel efficient. For trucks I would tell them to get 1/2 ton trucks unless they had a real need for a 3/4 ton or larger. For trailers I'd tell them to only get what they had to have. And enclosed trailers are a no-no. Everybody ignored me.

    It wasn't 2 months ago that some brainiac came in here and announced that he was going to use the US DOE price forecast to set his annual budget for the year. I told him he was crazy. He derided me calling me a doomsday prophet. Ha! So much for his $3.15 a gallon projection.
  6. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    The prices will not continue up indefinitely. The Fed has blown a huge commodities bubble. It will pop.
  7. IndianaBrian

    IndianaBrian LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I switched to a smaller mower and vehicle back in 2009 after first spike in fuel. I think everyone has to weigh time manangement vs fuel consumption with any business at this point. Fuel prices will continue to climb, and managing this will be the difference for any profitable business.
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  8. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Messages: 3,065

    I think its pretty simple. If and when it becomes not profitable and you have done all you can do and your still not making money, get out. Our fuel has gone up .30 cents in just the past two weeks and everybody feels it. Unfortunately we need 3/4 and 1 tons for plowing but I don't necessarily think 1/2 tons are that much better on fuel unless you change everything over like going to a 6x12 open trailer from a 16,18 or 20ft enclosed. At this point I can't blame anyone for wanting to get out. There is/was a local company I never thought would get out but this year they decided to call it quite's.
    Another thing I think customer's might have to realize is they can't get weekly maintenance with bagging, edging for 25, 30 or 35 any more.
  9. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Messages: 3,065

    On the trailer note, I agree 100% If we didn't need a 24ft enclosed trailer there is no way in hell we would be using it. Now that we moved into a new shop that would be able to house a couple trailer's I'm seriously considering selling it for a I'm sure a huge loss and buy another open trailer.
  10. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Fanatic
    from zone 6
    Messages: 6,166

    I listened to ya Richard, but I was going their anyway. I went from 11.9 to now 16 mpg (on a new motor)towing by ditching the 3/4 ton and going to a custom 5X14 trailer that fits in the slip screen of a 1/2 ton. It carries a a 42" Walker, 1 42" walk, 1 33"walk and a 21" along with two blowers , two trimmers, and a stick edger. Isn't that a 25% saving in fuel? Abama would be proud!

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